International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2019

This week, Joseph Chamberlain joins people across the world in celebrating women and girls in science. The international day organised by the United Nations aims to recognise the achievements of women in STEM careers and encourage more young girls into studying science, which has historically been stereotyped as a masculine subject.

According to the UN,

At present, less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women. According to UNESCO data (2014 – 16), only around 30% of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education. Globally, female students’ enrolment is particularly low in ICT (3%), natural science, mathematics and statistics (5%) and in engineering, manufacturing and construction (8%).

In order to make the strongest advances in science, we need the combined brainpower of all the best minds, which of course includes women as well as men. The push for gender equality must be consistent across every aspect of human life and as an education provider, we recognise our role in raising the next generation of female scientists, doctors and engineers – careers which many of our students are ambitious to pursue. In light of this, here are some of the women making up our science department, explaining what science means to them.

Becky Homer

Teacher of Biology and Applied Science and Coordinator for Level 2 & 2nd year Level 3  BTEC Applied Science

1. When did you realise you wanted to pursue a career in science?

I have had an interest in science since my very first lessons in school. When I began studying A Level in Biology, I realised it was the science that I wanted to pursue. Understanding the intricacies of how organisms live and grow fascinated me.

2. How did you get to the job you have today?

I completed a BSc in Biological Sciences, specialising in Cell Biology, at the University of Warwick – achieving a first class degree. I then completed my PGCE in Post-Compulsory Education at Birmingham City University. During my PGCE, I interviewed for the Teacher of Biology and Applied Science role at JCC and have been here ever since. At the end of my NQT year, I successfully interviewed for the coordinator role.

3. Why do you think we need more women and girls involved in science and how can we encourage them?

I believe we need more passionate and hardworking people in science, regardless of gender, and I believe that over recent years the stigma of science being a ‘mans’ subject has been challenged and more and more females are beginning their pathways into science which is great to see and long may this continue.

4. Who is your biggest inspiration in the field of science?

I would have to say someone like David Attenborough as he has the ability to draw people into science and make people interested in the living organisms around us, even when they have no scientific background themselves. He also does the very important job of highlighting some of the concerns around human actions on the planet and how our actions are affecting other living organisms, which are incredibly important at the current time.

Insa Nasir

Coordinator for A level Biology

1. When did you realise you wanted to pursue a career in science?

I’ve wanted to pursue a science related career since school. I enjoyed A-level Biology and although it was challenging at the time, I enjoyed teaching it to others more! My love for Science, particularly Biology grows everyday. As my knowledge and understanding of the world increases, my appreciation for the study of Biology increases.

2. How did you get to the job you have today?

After doing A-levels in Biology, Chemistry and Psychology, I went on to study Human Biology at the University of Birmingham and then did my PGDipEd in Science. During this year, I applied for the post of Teacher of Biology at JCC, before progressing on to AS then A Level Biology Coordinator.

3. Why do you think we need more women and girls involved in science and how can we encourage them?

It is crucial that more girls and women get involved in science because they can transform lives, empower women, promote equality and independence, become positive role models that can educate generations and make life changing contributions to society! Women should be encouraged to get involved in science by celebrating the success of female scientists in history, being reminded of the value of education, hearing success stories of women who’ve changed the world through science and by educational institutions highlighting the need for women in science. 

4. Who is your biggest inspiration in the field of science?

My biggest inspirations are all scientists who have made a contribution in their field through their hard work, commitment and love for what they do.